En Route Blood Transfusion After Trauma Beneficial

(HealthDay News) – A pre-hospital transfusion of plasma and red blood cells rather than saline after trauma is associated with a lower risk of death in the first six hours after admission as well as improved coagulation status, according to a study presented at the American Heart Association's 2013 Scientific Sessions, held from Nov. 16–19 in Dallas.

John Holcomb, MD, from the University of Texas in Houston, and colleagues reviewed the records of 577 adult trauma patients, where 97 patients received a pre-hospital transfusion of plasma and red blood cells and 480 patients received only crystalloid resuscitation (most commonly normal saline solution).

The researchers found that, on arrival, the pre-hospital transfusion group had significantly lower six hour mortality risk (adjusted odds ratio, 0.08) and a significantly lower coagulopathy risk (adjusted odds ratio, 0.4). Only 1.9% of red blood cells and plasma was wasted. There was also a 13% reduction in hospital mortality, though this did not reach statistical significance.

"Pre-hospital plasma and red blood cell transfusion was associated with improved coagulation status and a reduction in the risk of death in the first six hours after admission, with negligible blood products wastage," Holcomb and colleagues conclude.

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